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Pro-Brexit MP Makes His Case; U.S., Others Open to Arming Libyan Government; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 18, 2016 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: live from Westminster in London, where pomp and pageantry meet politics. The annual
queen's speech just over a month before Britain decides in or out of the European Union.
And joining me live here outside the world-famous Houses of Parliament is the pro-Brexit MP, Adam Afriyie.
And later in the program, the former British intelligence chief, John Sawers, on why he's voting to remain in the E.U. to face down big
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SAWERS, FORMER MI-6 CHIEF: One of the great things about the European Union, one of its lasting achievements, has been to make democracy, human
rights and the rule of law the norm across Europe. And it has an important, anchoring role in that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour here in Westminster, the political heart of Britain,
where only hours ago the queen opened Parliament, delivering a speech, outlining the government's agenda for the year ahead.
But behind all the pomp and ceremony lurks the biggest political decision facing Britain for generations to come and that is the E.U. referendum, an
issue the queen herself has been dragged into.
Today "The Sun" tabloid was rebuked for its, quote, "a significantly misleading headline," stating that the monarch backs the Brexit. Such is
the sensitivity of an In or Out decision that it has marked the first time the queen made an official complaint to a press regulator.
And it's evidence of the volatile mood in the halls of power right there behind me and of course around this country, with this vote just 35 days
away. So here with me now to talk about all of this is a Brexit-backer, the Conservative MP, Adam Afriyie.
Welcome to the program.
ADAM AFRIYIE, CONSERVATIVE MP: It's great to be here.
AMANPOUR: So we talked a little bit about volatility and heightened emotions. I wonder if you can respond to the headline in "The Times,"
newspaper today, where a former deputy British prime minister, Michael Heseltine, laid into Boris Johnson for comparing the E.U. project to
Hitler's project back in the '30s.
AFRIYIE: Well, it's interesting but Michael Heseltine is a long-time Europhile, if I can put it that way. So nothing's changed there. But he's
also a bit of a leonine character and likes to kind of growl and say I'm the opposition.
But I think what Boris said in that article, if you read it, he's very sensible, he talks about the European history, where there are many
projects to unite Europe under all different guises and how all of them have -- ultimately have failed.
AMANPOUR: But do you buy the Hitler reference?
I mean, isn't that a little overplayed and a little -- you know, you all talk about the fear project, this is a little fear.
AFRIYIE: Well, I don't think that was fair. Like I said, if you read the article, it's not quite connected in the way that you describe. But the
key thing is this, is that Boris is also a larger-than-life character. He speaks in vivid metaphors. But I think the central point that he's making,
in this -- a unified Europe that works together as a single super state, is not really going to work. I think he's absolutely right with that.
AMANPOUR: What do you -- and, again, before we get to the actual ins and outs of the issues, do you think Boris has harmed his position, going into
a leadership battle, as many believe that's what he wants to do?
AFRIYIE: Well, I don't know what Boris' intentions are but I guess many people can imagine. But I don't think so. I think that this is a proper
full-on battle for ideas about whether we should be safe or more secure outside the E.U. or remain in the E.U. and be controlled by it. So I think
that there are going to be a lot of strong sentiments.
There's going to be a lot of linkage by the media between things that aren't necessarily related. And that's all good for the battle. But I
hope that ultimately the people can hear the arguments.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're going to get down to some substance. But let me ask you first because there is so much back-and-forth.
What is your reason for wanting to get out?
And I ask you in the context of our international global world, which we have a global audience.
All of Britain's international partners, from economic, to nation states, to anybody you can think of, says that it would be better for the world and
for Britain to remain in the E.U.
What specifically is your position on this?
AFRIYIE: World leaders, of course, when they're dealing with the British government that has a position on wishing to remain in, will, of course,
support that government's position.
AMANPOUR: You don't think it's on the merits and on -- ?
AFRIYIE: Not really.
AMANPOUR: -- on the international linkages, on the working together?
AFRIYIE: I think when it comes to the U.S. president, clearly it is in the U.S. president's interest, he believes, that Britain should remain a member
of the E.U.
But when I look at that, what's absolutely clear is that President Obama -- and no American president would ever subject themselves to being subjugated
to some external union --
AMANPOUR: Now I know you say that but --
AMANPOUR: -- Britain and the U.S. are two very different entities.
But just tell me your -- why do you, Adam Afriyie, MP, want to get this country out of the E.U.?
AFRIYIE: Well, because I think it's -- I think we'll be safer as a nation, I think we'll be economically more prosperous. But above all, the British
people will be deciding on the kind of changes we want for this country, rather than an unelected bureaucratic organization. So for me, the
decision is -- actually it's a quite careful judgment.
Change is coming. There are all sorts of banked-up E.U. directives and all sorts of initiatives there that are about to come flooding over the United
So the question for voters is, do you want those changes to our country to be dictated by an external body?
Or do we want to come out of the E.U. and decide for ourselves which kind of direction we wish to take?
AMANPOUR: You mentioned two things just now, the economy and also security. So I just want to ask you about what was in the front page of
one of the newspapers today, saying that Britain stood to lose its singular position as a really important science, research and development hub, could
lose a billion dollars in funding pointing out that 25 percent of all research funding comes from the E.U.
That's a fact. I mean, those are facts and figures.
Is that not something that worries you?
I just use that as an example?
AFRIYIE: Yes. Well, look, as a former shadow minister for science, I completely refute that argument because actually all of the international
bodies of which we're a member, are not E.U. funded solely. Only 2 percent of E.U. funding goes, for example, to CERN.
So actually I believe that our science base would be even greater -- would be subject to greater enhancement if we weren't members of the E.U. So
like I say, all of the science funding bodies are not E.U. bodies.
AFRIYIE: They pre-date the E.U. --
AMANPOUR: That's apparently not true, according to this latest study in the "FT," which is not a rag. It says 41 percent of public funding for
cancer research comes from the E.U.; 62 percent of public funding for nanotechnology does; more than half the public funding for evolutionary
biology, forestry science, et cetera, comes from there. So these are big figures.
AFRIYIE: Yes. I don't think that they are -- I'm going to challenge. There's not time to do it now but I don't -- their figures are actually not
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, you can challenge that.
AFRIYIE: And also, if the E.U. money is coming into U.K. science, bearing in mind, we give $18 billion to the E.U. and we only get a fraction of that
back in science spend, then, again, I think there's more money available if we're not a member of the E.U. to fund British science.
I mean, there's no question. Simply (INAUDIBLE) speech today about spaceports and science and digitization, that actually we have a vibrant
future in science whether or not we're inside or outside the E.U.
AMANPOUR: Stephen Hawking disagrees with you but we're going to move on because you're going to refute this study.
You talked about the economic model. You talk about sovereignty. And many Brexiters point to the only countries which we really know who are out and
in, sort of, Norway and Switzerland. So Norway.
Norway -- and let's just say you say change is coming; there's a lot of building change coming to this building behind us and we can hear it. But
Norway is not in the E.U.
And I had the Norwegian defense minister on this week and I asked her, on the issues that count to you, on immigration, does Norway -- is Norway
exempt from the free flow of people?
No, it's not exempt from the free flow of people.
So that's one issue.
What about Norway, who's -- she said to me -- takes about 75 percent of E.U. legislation, even though they're not formally in the E.U., without
having a say.
Isn't that something that's worrying for Britain, because you'll still be subject to this but you won't have a say?
AFRIYIE: Well, that's an assertion, that we'll still be subject to those rules.
AMANPOUR: -- Norway.
AFRIYIE: No, no, for Norway but we're not Norway. We're the fifth largest economy in the world, soon to be the fourth largest economy in the world.
So there will be a unique British position and, in years to come, I hope we'll be having -- speaking again, you'll be saying, well, what about the
AMANPOUR: We'll see.
AFRIYIE: So I think we're a unique economy, I think we have unique strengths and do bear in mind, this -- we have a very strong bargaining
position here in that the E.U. sells us to us far more than we buy from it.
So actually the pressure is not on us to negotiate some kind of trade deal or access; the pressure is actually on the French and the Germans to be
sure that we continue to trade with them.
AMANPOUR: I do slightly worry about that, because all your partners say, for instance, that you all say, well, we can negotiate, as you've just said
right now, negotiate separate and different deals with different countries maybe.
I mean, Michael Goh (ph), who's the principal intellectual Brexiter, the leading voice, suggested that Britain could get out of the current
establishment and go into a union with Albania, Kosovo and the others. I mean, the Albanian prime minister said that that would be weird.
AFRIYIE: Well, that does sound rather odd but, nevertheless, remember --
AMANPOUR: I'm glad you give us that one.
AFRIYIE: -- but nevertheless, he has a point, which is that if we can strike -- at the moment, we can't strike free trade deals with China, with
-- we can't do any of this.
And the point is that if we're not members of the European Union, not only will we continue to trade with the European Union, the pressure from them
to continue to trade, but we can then set up free trade agreements, bilateral agreements, with the rest of the world. And it's the rest of the
world that's growing.
AFRIYIE: We seem to think of Europe --
AMANPOUR: When you say the rest of the world, you mean China -- ?
AFRIYIE: -- yes, China, Brazil, Asia, even Africa. So the rest of the world is growing at a frenetic pace. And again, of all the blocs in the
world that's having trouble, it's the European Union.
So it has half the value of world trade that it used to have --
AMANPOUR: -- Britain has the least trouble currently right now, the least unemployment and the fastest and biggest growing economy.
Are you not worried at least that the amount of uncertainty could cause at least a short-term or medium-term shock?
AFRIYIE: There will be, of course because any uncertainty means that markets will wobble, exchange rates will wobble for a short period of time.
But once there's a clarity that Britain is no longer a member of the European Union, I think that the whole of the rest of the world will be
looking to Britain to, OK, what are the opportunities now?
So with change comes opportunity. But remember, there's change coming from Europe.
The question is, do we want European changes, over which we have 10 percent of the vote and have never won a vote in the history of the European Union?
Or do we want those changes controlled by Britain and the British public?
AMANPOUR: Next question: you all seem to think that, in a post-Brexit world, in other words, Britain has voted to get out on June 23rd if you
have your way. And then European nations are going to be so thrilled with you that they're going to give you preferential trading status and sign
deals. They're going to be really ticked off.
They're going to have said, hey, we allowed some reform; we have slacked back on sovereignty. We've done all these things for David Cameron and for
Britain and probably for us -- and they still left.
Why do you think they're going to want to do these deals with you in a quick manner?
AFRIYIE: Because they're rational and it's in their interest also to continue to trade with Britain, to continue to share intelligence with
Britain, to continue to talk about security with Britain. So it's in their interest as much as it is ours that we do continue to communicate and
So leaving the E.U. is not leaving Europe. Leaving the E.U. is not not discussing things with European leaders. Leaving the E.U. is the best
thing that we could do both for Britain's prosperity but I think also to lead the way in Europe, to demonstrate, as other countries have already
said, other leaders have already said, to demonstrate there is a different way of doing things that may be in the European interest as well as our
AMANPOUR: So very soon we're going to be talking to Sir John Sawers, former MI-6. And he says leaving the E.U. will materially affect the
security of this nation, because the E.U. allows -- he said it certainly doesn't impede and it does help, talking about data and DNA and deportation
treaties and things like that.
Also, the current home secretary, Theresa May, has negotiated this whole passenger data information. So all sorts of things that are really
beneficial to Britain, that Britain would not be able to take -- count on if they were out of the E.U. It could damage security.
AFRIYIE: Yes. There is a risk of that. But it's equally, I think, a bigger risk to our security by remaining members. And remember, when it
comes to intelligence services, let me just big up Britain for a moment, we are one of the best in the world. So the idea that European member states
would not wish to continue sharing intelligence and security information with us is, quite frankly, a bit of a nonsense.
But when it comes to these other issues, these -- each of these individual issues can be negotiated. And when it comes to passenger -- the exchange
of passenger data, the passenger data is already exchanged with other countries outside the E.U. And we will be in the same position.
So I think this shock, horror, the sun will never shine, there will be a third world war if we leave the E.U., I think the Remain side are really
overplaying their hand.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're going to get more details on the security aspect of it in a moment.
But thank you very much for joining us, Adam Afriyie, MP here, outside the Houses of Parliament.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much indeed.
AMANPOUR: And as I said, a dissenting opinion after the break: my discussion with the former head of MI-6 and the security argument for
remaining in the E.U. That is next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour, outside Parliament, where MPs have been talking up both sides of the E.U.
You just heard our interview with the leading Leave campaigner and there's fierce debate, of course, about how this referendum could impact the
economy, jobs and immigration. And then there is the question of security.
Now back at our studio, I spoke with someone who understands this better than anyone.
John Sawers, the former head of Britain's foreign intelligence service, MI- 6, he says this country remaining in the E.U. would pack a much stronger punch in the world, especially with challenges posed by a chaotic Middle
East and an adversarial Russia right now.
AMANPOUR: Sir John Sawers, welcome to the program.
SAWERS: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Many would say that Russia has the agenda in its hands and has basically got the West where it hurts.
How would you characterize who's in the driving seat when it comes to Syria?
SAWERS: Well, in any political process, the facts on the ground dictate who has the leverage at the negotiation table.
And the fact that the Russians have intervened and the Iranians have intervened and the West has not done so means inevitably that in any
political negotiation, the Russians and the Iranians are going to be in a pretty strong position, more so than Europe and the United States.
AMANPOUR: And as former chief of MI-6 and before that Britain's ambassador to the U.N. and before that ambassador in many parts of this very troubled
region, when you travel around the world right now, what do people ask you first?
Is it about ISIS?
SAWERS: On Syria, yes; they are concerned about how to bring an end to the suffering and how to deal with this terrorist threat, which is a threat
across the Arab world, as well as to European countries and ultimately to the United States as well.
So people are very concerned about the Islamic State. I think more widely in the Middle East, people are also very interested in what is happening in
Saudi Arabia and how these tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran might be resolved in years ahead and what to make of the Mohammad bin Salman, the
new driving force in reform efforts in Saudi Arabia. I think those are the issues of greatest concern.
Saudi Arabia is absolutely crucial now across the Arab world. It has displaced Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad as the center of Arab political power
and its stability matters a great deal, not just for global energy markets but to all the neighboring countries in the Gulf.
So a lot of eyes are focused on Riyadh.
AMANPOUR: And a lot of eyes now this week especially focused on Libya, because the United States, along with about 20 other countries, including
the Arab League and others, have decided that they will transfer weapons and all sorts of military hardware materiel to what they call the official
government of Libya, the GNA.
Is that a good idea?
Why do you think they're doing that in a place that's awash with weapons and untrammeled militants?
SAWERS: Yes, well, Libya is half-finished business. The ousting of Gadhafi back in 2011 was an important step to take because the country
lacked any connection, really, between the regime and the people. And Gadhafi was about to turn the weapons of the regime on the people.
And it could have ended up like Syria has ended up over the last four years. So it brought to an end the immediate crisis.
But of course there wasn't a Western influence on the ground to help manage the transition. Now we have a government of national unity that's been
forged through the efforts of the United Nations and others, to bring together the two competing governments.
There are still outliers on both sides who are opposed to this new government but it has broad support.
And it's absolutely vital now that the international community comes in behind that government of national unity, not just because Libya needs to
be settled and stabilized again -- there are terrorist groups in the south, who have been launching attacks in Algeria and in Niger and elsewhere.
And of course you have got the twin problems of Islamic State firmly entrenched on the Mediterranean coast and also the lack of institutions in
SAWERS: -- Libya means that it's acting as a funnel for very large numbers of migrants to go through Libya into Europe. And that's a destabilizing
factor as well.
So it's in everybody's interest that the new Libyan government is supported and is able to establish itself.
AMANPOUR: Regarding refugees and migration, obviously this is playing a huge role, as I said, on the continent and the politics there. And we've
seen the rise of some very extreme parties. But it's having a huge role, it's one of the big issues in the whole E.U. referendum debate here in
From your analysis again, as a security official and as a former diplomat, if Britain were to leave the E.U., do you believe that would necessarily or
even likely have a contagious effect in Europe?
Could other countries decide to leave?
What is the sort of worst-case scenario as you see it?
SAWERS: Well, I sincerely hope that Britain stays a member of the European Union. I believe it's in our economic interest and in our security
interest. One aspect of the security interest is the day-to-day cooperation, which is helped to E.U. legislation.
The E.U., European Union, does nothing to impede our security. It does a number of things that enhances our security, such as data sharing, such as
the European arrest warrant and so on.
But there's a wider point in here in that our country's stability and security depends on the wider stability of Europe and I do think there is a
risk that with the sort of populist, nationalistic politics that we're seeing from both the extreme right and the extreme left in different parts
of Europe and some countries, Poland and Hungary, have got governments on the hard right.
Greece has a government on the hard left. There is a danger of Europe breaking down into sort of populist entities.
Now one of the great things about the European Union, one of its lasting achievements, has been to make democracy, human rights and the rule of law
the norm across Europe. And it has an important anchoring role in that.
AMANPOUR: You and a former colleague from MI-5 wrote a public letter, talking about, as you just said, the European Union doesn't hinder; it
enhances our security. Your former -- a predecessor of yours, Richard Dearlove (ph), says exactly the opposite. He said basically that Britain's
safety could be improved if it abandoned the E.U. by making easier to deport terrorists and to control Britain's borders.
For the ordinary punter, it's kind of hard when two MI-6 people say rather different things.
SAWERS: Yes. Well, I do understand that. And obviously people in senior positions have different perspectives on this. I would only say Richard
Dearlove left the intelligence world 12 years ago. And the way in which we conduct counterterrorism cooperation in Europe is completely different now
from how it was back in 2004.
And I think it's much, much more effective than it was when he was in charge of MI-6.
Now the -- as I say, I don't believe that the institutions of the European Union do anything that get in the way of our security. We have control of
our borders in the U.K. There are different sorts of problems in continental Europe, where they have a single free travel area.
So if someone arrives in Spain they can travel freely up to Denmark without any let or hindrance. The British home secretary, Theresa May, has
recently negotiated successfully a new piece of legislation that requires countries to transfer to one another the details of passengers flying from
one country to another.
Now that's a huge opportunity --
AMANPOUR: And that was something the Europeans wanted very much, or people would say we -- isn't it PNR, isn't it called?
SAWERS: The passenger name record --
SAWERS: -- which gives not just the names of the individual but also the details of how they paid for their ticket, where they've been recently and
Now that gives you a great opportunity if someone's of concern to search your databases and see if they're linked together with others who might be
terrorist-inclined or indeed have other criminal connections.
So these agreements are really a step forward and they're not available if you're outside the European Union.
AMANPOUR: Mr. John Sawers, thank you very much.
SAWERS: Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And now here we are in the shadow of Big Ben but we'll turn to something three times bigger that Britain's biggest clock. Currently it's
docked in Southampton, the world's biggest cruise ship.
It's blocking out the sky. It can carry 8,500 passengers and crew. It has 20 restaurants, 23 swimming pools and more than 11,000 pieces of art.
Apparently, it's the first of more jumbo cruises to come, needed to accommodate Chinese and other enthusiasts for the sea.
When we come back, imagining another weighty issue, the British town that's putting its officials on the weighing scales. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, after the pomp and the grandeur of the queen's ceremonial speech, we imagine a world not too far away from these
Houses of Parliament, weighing in on their elected officials.
In the town of High Wickham, this week the people will check the pursestrings of their local officials by seeing if they're tipping the
scales, publicly weighing them in what's become an annual tradition that dates all the way back to 1678.
The idea is to measure a politician's honesty by their weight. If someone has lost pounds, it's a sign of responsible spending and they get cheered.
But if they've gained weight, they're booed.
And once upon a time, they were pelted with rotten fruit for their publicly funded gluttony.
It all began by trying to keep them honest in medieval times. And to this day, they're still trying.
Right now, two Scottish National Party members of parliament are facing investigation over their use of public funds to accommodate their affairs.
Perhaps it's time to bring back the weigh-in, to trim the fat, so to speak.
And that's it for our program tonight from Westminster. Remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me
on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.